Yanks edge O's behind Tex, A-Rod blasts
NEW YORK -- Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer and Alex Rodriguez launched a tape-measure blast to support Ivan Nova's solid effort as the Yankees defeated the Orioles, 4-3, on Wednesday evening at Yankee Stadium, improving to a season-high 11 games over .500.
Both Yankees homers came off Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman, who surrendered four runs over six innings and was saddled with the loss. Brett Gardner also drove in a run for the Yankees, who swelled their division-leading record to 52-41.
"Those are the kind of games we have to win in October, so it's good we're playing well in one-run games," Rodriguez said.
Nova held the Orioles to Ryan Flaherty's two-run homer in a six-inning effort before turning the ball over to the bullpen. Chasen Shreve pitched a scoreless seventh and Dellin Betances followed suit in the eighth before closer Andrew Miller worked around a solo homer to Chris Davis to log his 22nd save in as many chances.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
That three-four punch: Rodriguez and Teixeira, the Nos. 3 and 4 hitters in the Yankees' lineup, contributed big swings against Gausman. Teixeira slugged a two-run shot to right field in the first inning, his 24th of the year. Rodriguez circled the bases for his 20th homer in the fifth, a shot to left-center that cleared the bullpen and was estimated at 453 feet by the YES Network. The shot also marked Rodriguez's 3,024th career hit, surpassing Lou Brock for sole possession of 24th place all-time, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. More >
"We have a lot of confidence right now. We come to the park every day expecting to win," Teixeira said. "When you get starting pitching the way that we've been getting it the last few games, it's a lot easier to do."
Triple digits: With a home run over the right-center field wall in the third inning, Flaherty picked up his 99th and 100th career RBIs. His homer scored J.J. Hardy and brought the O's within a run. It was his fourth long ball of the season. Davis sent a homer of his own over the fence in the ninth, but it was too little, too late for the O's.
"Not really," said Flaherty, when he was asked if he knew the ball was gone. "That was my first at-bat in a little while, and just lucky to put a pretty good swing on it."
Nova's super: Making his fifth start since returning from Tommy John surgery, Nova gave the Yankees what they needed, firing a season-high 94 pitches over six innings. Other than Flaherty's homer, Nova permitted just two other hits, walking three and striking out three. He got a little help from his defense -- particularly Chase Headley and Teixeira, on a Manny Machado grounder -- to pitch out of trouble in the fifth, keeping Baltimore off the board despite starting the inning with two free passes.
"I've got to think, don't let that guy score," Nova said. "You have a lead and you don't want to mess it up. I was focused on making one pitch at a time. I got my defense to help."
First inning nearly seals it: In his first start back from Triple-A Norfolk, Gausman gave up six hits and four runs in six innings. Three of the four runs came in the first inning, when the Yankees sent eight batters to the plate. After the opening frame, Gausman was able to settle down, but his offense couldn't rally behind him. More >
"After the first inning, I knew that my stuff was good. I was just going to have to mix in pitches with these guys," said Gausman, who threw 96 pitches, 62 for strikes. "Definitely to lock in and end up going six -- I wish I had gone seven -- was huge for us and just kind of kept us in the game."
"There's still a lot of games to be played and you still play teams in your division a lot," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "But as I've said, these are important series because it gives you an opportunity to put some distance between you and the clubs in your division and you don't have to rely on other people."
"I can't say enough about Tex. To me, he's the MVP of the league on both sides of the ball. Tonight he drove in four runs, two on offense and two on defense. A lot of times it's taken for granted because he's so good and he makes it look so easy. And he's been doing it since he got here in 2009." -- Rodriguez
"I feel like we were a hit or two away. I thought we hit some balls hard tonight. Headley made some good plays at third and I don't think I've seen Teixeira miss a pick in the last four years, so you tip your hat and keep grinding and you try to get after them." -- Davis
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Teixeira has four straight multi-hit games since July 8, marking his longest such stretch since 2012. Over that span, Teixeira is batting .563 (9-for-16) with four runs, four doubles, two homers and three RBIs. And 44 of his 78 hits this year have gone for extra bases (20 doubles, 24 homers).
Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez heads to the mound Thursday afternoon (1:05 ET) for the finale of the three-game series. He is 7-5 on the season with a 3.29 ERA and will make his ninth career start against the Yankees, against whom he is 3-4, with a 5.48 ERA. Jimenez struggled in his last outing, taking the loss after 4 2/3 innings, seven hits and seven earned runs against the Tigers.
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (6-3, 3.65 ERA) will make his 13th start of the season. Tanaka is looking for his third straight victory, having opened the second half with seven innings of three-run, five-hit ball to beat the Mariners on Friday.
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